Tips on Word Choice: Ruled by Intellect or Emotion? No17

English: So many words to keep track of!.
English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain words/phrases can induce fairly specific responses in readers. As writers, we all know this, but do we use the power of emotion in our work?

For these few weeks, I’m looking at something subjective: how to choose between emotional and intellectual words for effect. You won’t always agree with me, of course; you’re writers. But, hopefully, my suggestions will get the thought processes going.

In this series I’m looking at the difference between words that seem intellectual as opposed to those that evoke a more emotional response. How you use them is obviously up to you. The point is that the alternatives have the same, or very similar, meanings, but their effect upon the reader can be markedly different. I’ve made some suggestions here, but I’m sure you can think of others.

Intellectual: Fatigued

Emotional: Tired

‘That ME/CFS has left her more or less permanently fatigued: I think we have to find an excuse to dismiss her.’

‘I’m sick and tired of this constant weariness. I’m sure the boss is going to sack me.’

Intellectual: Immediately

Emotional: Right Now

‘We must act immediately if we are to prevent the other team from winning.’

‘You have to do it right now, or the other buggers are going to win!’

Intellectual: Tardy

Emotional: Late

‘Your arrival is a little tardy this morning, Miss Demeanour. It will have to be recorded on your employment record.’

‘The ruddy bus didn’t come again. Now I’m late and the boss will be marking my card.’